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1.  Lipids of the ultra-thin square halophilic archaeon Haloquadratum walsbyi  
Archaea  2008;2(3):177-183.
The lipid composition of the extremely halophilic archaeon Haloquadratum walsbyi was investigated by thin-layer chromatography and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. The analysis of neutral lipids showed the presence of vitamin MK-8, squalene, carotene, bacterioruberin and several retinal isomers. The major polar lipids were phosphatidylglycerophosphate methyl ester, phosphatidylglycerosulfate, phosphatidylglycerol and sulfated diglycosyl diether lipid. Among cardiolipins, the tetra-phytanyl or dimeric phospholipids, only traces of bisphosphatidylglycerol were detected. When the cells were exposed to hypotonic medium, no changes in the membrane lipid composition occurred. Distinguishing it from other extreme halophiles of the Halobacteriaceae family, the osmotic stress did not induce the neo-synthesis of cardiolipins in H. walsbyi. The difference may depend on the three-laminar structure of the cell wall, which differs significantly from that of other Haloarchaea.
PMCID: PMC2685597  PMID: 19054744
Archaea; archaeal phospholipids; ether lipids; Halobacteriaceae
2.  Coupled TLC and MALDI-TOF/MS Analyses of the Lipid Extract of the Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus 
Archaea  2012;2012:957852.
The lipidome of the marine hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus was studied by means of combined thin-layer chromatography and MALDI-TOF/MS analyses of the total lipid extract. 80–90% of the major polar lipids were represented by archaeol lipids (diethers) and the remaining part by caldarchaeol lipids (tetraethers). The direct analysis of lipids on chromatography plate showed the presence of the diphytanylglycerol analogues of phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylglycerol, the N-acetylglucosamine-diphytanylglycerol phosphate plus some caldarchaeol lipids different from those previously described. In addition, evidence for the presence of the dimeric ether lipid cardiolipin is reported, suggesting that cardiolipins are ubiquitous in archaea.
PMCID: PMC3502756  PMID: 23193375
3.  Comparative Analysis of Methane-Oxidizing Archaea and Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria in Anoxic Marine Sediments 
The oxidation of methane in anoxic marine sediments is thought to be mediated by a consortium of methane-consuming archaea and sulfate-reducing bacteria. In this study, we compared results of rRNA gene (rDNA) surveys and lipid analyses of archaea and bacteria associated with methane seep sediments from several different sites on the Californian continental margin. Two distinct archaeal lineages (ANME-1 and ANME-2), peripherally related to the order Methanosarcinales, were consistently associated with methane seep marine sediments. The same sediments contained abundant 13C-depleted archaeal lipids, indicating that one or both of these archaeal groups are members of anaerobic methane-oxidizing consortia. 13C-depleted lipids and the signature 16S rDNAs for these archaeal groups were absent in nearby control sediments. Concurrent surveys of bacterial rDNAs revealed a predominance of δ-proteobacteria, in particular, close relatives of Desulfosarcina variabilis. Biomarker analyses of the same sediments showed bacterial fatty acids with strong 13C depletion that are likely products of these sulfate-reducing bacteria. Consistent with these observations, whole-cell fluorescent in situ hybridization revealed aggregations of ANME-2 archaea and sulfate-reducing Desulfosarcina and Desulfococcus species. Additionally, the presence of abundant 13C-depleted ether lipids, presumed to be of bacterial origin but unrelated to ether lipids of members of the order Desulfosarcinales, suggests the participation of additional bacterial groups in the methane-oxidizing process. Although the Desulfosarcinales and ANME-2 consortia appear to participate in the anaerobic oxidation of methane in marine sediments, our data suggest that other bacteria and archaea are also involved in methane oxidation in these environments.
PMCID: PMC92814  PMID: 11282650
4.  Microbial Diversity of Hydrothermal Sediments in the Guaymas Basin: Evidence for Anaerobic Methanotrophic Communities† 
Microbial communities in hydrothermally active sediments of the Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California, Mexico) were studied by using 16S rRNA sequencing and carbon isotopic analysis of archaeal and bacterial lipids. The Guaymas sediments harbored uncultured euryarchaeota of two distinct phylogenetic lineages within the anaerobic methane oxidation 1 (ANME-1) group, ANME-1a and ANME-1b, and of the ANME-2c lineage within the Methanosarcinales, both previously assigned to the methanotrophic archaea. The archaeal lipids in the Guaymas Basin sediments included archaeol, diagnostic for nonthermophilic euryarchaeota, and sn-2-hydroxyarchaeol, with the latter compound being particularly abundant in cultured members of the Methanosarcinales. The concentrations of these compounds were among the highest observed so far in studies of methane seep environments. The δ-13C values of these lipids (δ-13C = −89 to −58‰) indicate an origin from anaerobic methanotrophic archaea. This molecular-isotopic signature was found not only in samples that yielded predominantly ANME-2 clones but also in samples that yielded exclusively ANME-1 clones. ANME-1 archaea therefore remain strong candidates for mediation of the anaerobic oxidation of methane. Based on 16S rRNA data, the Guaymas sediments harbor phylogenetically diverse bacterial populations, which show considerable overlap with bacterial populations of geothermal habitats and natural or anthropogenic hydrocarbon-rich sites. Consistent with earlier observations, our combined evidence from bacterial phylogeny and molecular-isotopic data indicates an important role of some novel deeply branching bacteria in anaerobic methanotrophy. Anaerobic methane oxidation likely represents a significant and widely occurring process in the trophic ecology of methane-rich hydrothermal vents. This study stresses a high diversity among communities capable of anaerobic oxidation of methane.
PMCID: PMC123873  PMID: 11916723
5.  Novel archaeal macrocyclic diether core membrane lipids in a methane-derived carbonate crust from a mud volcano in the Sorokin Trough, NE Black Sea 
Archaea  2002;1(3):165-173.
A methane-derived carbonate crust was collected from the recently discovered NIOZ mud volcano in the Sorokin Trough, NE Black Sea during the 11th Training-through-Research cruise of the R/V Professor Logachev. Among several specific bacterial and archaeal membrane lipids present in this crust, two novel macrocyclic diphytanyl glycerol diethers, containing one or two cyclopentane rings, were detected. Their structures were tentatively identified based on the interpretation of mass spectra, comparison with previously reported mass spectral data, and a hydrogenation experiment. This macrocyclic type of archaeal core membrane diether lipid has so far been identified only in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent methanogen Methanococcus jannaschii. Here, we provide the first evidence that these macrocyclic diethers can also contain internal cyclopentane rings. The molecular structure of the novel diethers resembles that of dibiphytanyl tetraethers in which biphytane chains, containing one and two pentacyclic rings, also occur. Such tetraethers were abundant in the crust. Compound-specific isotope measurements revealed δ13C values of –104 to –111‰ for these new archaeal lipids, indicating that they are derived from methanotrophic archaea acting within anaerobic methane-oxidizing consortia, which subsequently induce authigenic carbonate formation.
PMCID: PMC2685565  PMID: 15803662
anaerobic oxidation of methane; archaeal membrane lipids; fluid venting; microbial processes
6.  Growth and Methane Oxidation Rates of Anaerobic Methanotrophic Archaea in a Continuous-Flow Bioreactor 
Anaerobic methanotrophic archaea have recently been identified in anoxic marine sediments, but have not yet been recovered in pure culture. Physiological studies on freshly collected samples containing archaea and their sulfate-reducing syntrophic partners have been conducted, but sample availability and viability can limit the scope of these experiments. To better study microbial anaerobic methane oxidation, we developed a novel continuous-flow anaerobic methane incubation system (AMIS) that simulates the majority of in situ conditions and supports the metabolism and growth of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea. We incubated sediments collected from within and outside a methane cold seep in Monterey Canyon, Calif., for 24 weeks on the AMIS system. Anaerobic methane oxidation was measured in all sediments after incubation on AMIS, and quantitative molecular techniques verified the increases in methane-oxidizing archaeal populations in both seep and nonseep sediments. Our results demonstrate that the AMIS system stimulated the maintenance and growth of anaerobic methanotrophic archaea, and possibly their syntrophic, sulfate-reducing partners. Our data demonstrate the utility of combining physiological and molecular techniques to quantify the growth and metabolic activity of anaerobic microbial consortia. Further experiments with the AMIS system should provide a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of methane oxidation in anoxic marine environments. The AMIS may also enable the enrichment, purification, and isolation of methanotrophic archaea as pure cultures or defined syntrophic consortia.
PMCID: PMC194967  PMID: 12957936
7.  Archaeal Populations in Hypersaline Sediments Underlying Orange Microbial Mats in the Napoli Mud Volcano▿† 
Microbial mats in marine cold seeps are known to be associated with ascending sulfide- and methane-rich fluids. Hence, they could be visible indicators of anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) and methane cycling processes in underlying sediments. The Napoli mud volcano is situated in the Olimpi Area that lies on saline deposits; from there, brine fluids migrate upward to the seafloor. Sediments associated with a brine pool and microbial orange mats of the Napoli mud volcano were recovered during the Medeco cruise. Based on analysis of RNA-derived sequences, the “active” archaeal community was composed of many uncultured lineages, such as rice cluster V or marine benthic group D. Function methyl coenzyme M reductase (mcrA) genes were affiliated with the anaerobic methanotrophic Archaea (ANME) of the ANME-1, ANME-2a, and ANME-2c groups, suggesting that AOM occurred in these sediment layers. Enrichment cultures showed the presence of viable marine methylotrophic Methanococcoides in shallow sediment layers. Thus, the archaeal community diversity seems to show that active methane cycling took place in the hypersaline microbial mat-associated sediments of the Napoli mud volcano.
PMCID: PMC3126394  PMID: 21335391
8.  A Mathematical Model for the Determination of Steady-State Cardiolipin Remodeling Mechanisms Using Lipidomic Data 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21170.
Technical advances in lipidomic analysis have generated tremendous amounts of quantitative lipid molecular species data, whose value has not been fully explored. We describe a novel computational method to infer mechanisms of de novo lipid synthesis and remodeling from lipidomic data. We focus on the mitochondrial-specific lipid cardiolipin (CL), a polyglycerol phospholipid with four acyl chains. The lengths and degree of unsaturation of these acyl chains vary across CL molecules, and regulation of these differences is important for mitochondrial energy metabolism. We developed a novel mathematical approach to determine mechanisms controlling the steady-state distribution of acyl chain combinations in CL . We analyzed mitochondrial lipids from 18 types of steady-state samples, each with at least 3 replicates, from mouse brain, heart, lung, liver, tumor cells, and tumors grown in vitro. Using a mathematical model for the CL remodeling mechanisms and a maximum likelihood approach to infer parameters, we found that for most samples the four chain positions have an independent and identical distribution, indicating they are remodeled by the same processes. Furthermore, for most brain samples and liver, the distribution of acyl chains is well-fit by a simple linear combination of the pools of acyl chains in phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), and phosphatidylglycerol (PG). This suggests that headgroup chemistry is the key determinant of acyl donation into CL, with chain length/saturation less important. This canonical remodeling behavior appears damaged in some tumor samples, which display a consistent excess of CL molecules having particular masses. For heart and lung, the “proportional incorporation” assumption is not adequate to explain the CL distribution, suggesting additional acyl CoA-dependent remodeling that is chain-type specific. Our findings indicate that CL remodeling processes can be described by a small set of quantitative relationships, and that bioinformatic approaches can help determine these processes from high-throughput lipidomic data.
PMCID: PMC3112230  PMID: 21695174
9.  The Role of Tetraether Lipid Composition in the Adaptation of Thermophilic Archaea to Acidity 
Diether and tetraether lipids are fundamental components of the archaeal cell membrane. Archaea adjust the degree of tetraether lipid cyclization in order to maintain functional membranes and cellular homeostasis when confronted with pH and/or thermal stress. Thus, the ability to adjust tetraether lipid composition likely represents a critical phenotypic trait that enabled archaeal diversification into environments characterized by extremes in pH and/or temperature. Here we assess the relationship between geochemical variation, core- and polar-isoprenoid glycerol dibiphytanyl glycerol tetraether (C-iGDGT and P-iGDGT, respectively) lipid composition, and archaeal 16S rRNA gene diversity and abundance in 27 geothermal springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The composition and abundance of C-iGDGT and P-iGDGT lipids recovered from geothermal ecosystems were distinct from surrounding soils, indicating that they are synthesized endogenously. With the exception of GDGT-0 (no cyclopentyl rings), the abundances of individual C-iGDGT and P-iGDGT lipids were significantly correlated. The abundance of a number of individual tetraether lipids varied positively with the relative abundance of individual 16S rRNA gene sequences, most notably crenarchaeol in both the core and polar GDGT fraction and sequences closely affiliated with Candidatus Nitrosocaldus yellowstonii. This finding supports the proposal that crenarchaeol is a biomarker for nitrifying archaea. Variation in the degree of cyclization of C- and P-iGDGT lipids recovered from geothermal mats and sediments could best be explained by variation in spring pH, with lipids from acidic environments tending to have, on average, more internal cyclic rings than those from higher pH ecosystems. Likewise, variation in the phylogenetic composition of archaeal 16S rRNA genes could best be explained by spring pH. In turn, the phylogenetic similarity of archaeal 16S rRNA genes was significantly correlated with the similarity in the composition of C- and P-iGDGT lipids. Taken together, these data suggest that the ability to adjust the composition of GDGT lipid membranes played a central role in the diversification of archaea into or out of environments characterized by extremes of low pH and high temperature.
PMCID: PMC3615187  PMID: 23565112
tetraether lipids; Nitrosocaldus; amoA; nitrification; crenarchaeol; community ecology; phylogenetic ecology
10.  Identification of a Cardiolipin-specific Phospholipase Encoded by the Gene CLD1 (YGR110W) in Yeast* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2009;284(17):11572-11578.
The mitochondrial dimeric phospholipid cardiolipin is characterized by a high degree of unsaturation of its acyl chains, which is important for its functional interaction with mitochondrial enzymes. The unusual fatty acid composition of cardiolipin molecular species emerges from a de novo synthesized “premature” species by extensive acyl chain remodeling that involves as yet only partially identified acyltransferases and phospholipases. Recently, the yeast protein Taz1p was shown to function as a transacylase, which catalyzes the reacylation of monolysocardiolipin to mature cardiolipin. A defect in the orthologous human TAZ gene is associated with Barth syndrome, a severe genetic disorder, which may lead to cardiac failure and death in childhood. We now identified the protein encoded by reading frame YGR110W as a mitochondrial phospholipase, which deacylates de novo synthesized cardiolipin. Ygr110wp has a strong substrate preference for palmitic acid residues and functions upstream of Taz1p, to generate monolysocardiolipin for Taz1p-dependent reacylation with unsaturated fatty acids. We therefore rename the Ygr110wp as Cld1p (cardiolipin-specific deacylase 1).
PMCID: PMC2670162  PMID: 19244244
11.  Biosynthesis of Ether-Type Polar Lipids in Archaea and Evolutionary Considerations 
This review deals with the in vitro biosynthesis of the characteristics of polar lipids in archaea along with preceding in vivo studies. Isoprenoid chains are synthesized through the classical mevalonate pathway, as in eucarya, with minor modifications in some archaeal species. Most enzymes involved in the pathway have been identified enzymatically and/or genomically. Three of the relevant enzymes are found in enzyme families different from the known enzymes. The order of reactions in the phospholipid synthesis pathway (glycerophosphate backbone formation, linking of glycerophosphate with two radyl chains, activation by CDP, and attachment of common polar head groups) is analogous to that of bacteria. sn-Glycerol-1-phosphate dehydrogenase is responsible for the formation of the sn-glycerol-1-phosphate backbone of phospholipids in all archaea. After the formation of two ether bonds, CDP-archaeol acts as a common precursor of various archaeal phospholipid syntheses. Various phospholipid-synthesizing enzymes from archaea and bacteria belong to the same large CDP-alcohol phosphatidyltransferase family. In short, the first halves of the phospholipid synthesis pathways play a role in synthesis of the characteristic structures of archaeal and bacterial phospholipids, respectively. In the second halves of the pathways, the polar head group-attaching reactions and enzymes are homologous in both domains. These are regarded as revealing the hybrid nature of phospholipid biosynthesis. Precells proposed by Wächtershäuser are differentiated into archaea and bacteria by spontaneous segregation of enantiomeric phospholipid membranes (with sn-glycerol-1-phosphate and sn-glycerol-3-phosphate backbones) and the fusion and fission of precells. Considering the nature of the phospholipid synthesis pathways, we here propose that common phospholipid polar head groups were present in precells before the differentiation into archaea and bacteria.
PMCID: PMC1847378  PMID: 17347520
12.  Acetaminophen Inhibits Cytochrome C Redox Cycling Induced Lipid Peroxidation 
Cytochrome (cyt) c can uncouple from the respiratory chain following mitochondrial stress and catalyze lipid peroxidation. Accumulating evidence shows that this phenomenon impairs mitochondrial respiratory function and also initiates the apoptotic cascade. Therefore, under certain conditions a pharmacological approach that can inhibit cyt c catalyzed lipid peroxidation may be beneficial. We recently showed that acetaminophen (ApAP) at normal pharmacologic concentrations can prevent hemoprotein-catalyzed lipid peroxidation in vitro and in vivo by reducing ferryl heme to its ferric state. We report here, for the first time, that ApAP inhibits cytochrome c-catalyzed oxidation of unsaturated free fatty acids and also the mitochondrial phospholipid, cardiolipin. Using isolated mitochondria, we also showed that ApAP inhibits cardiolipin oxidation induced by the pro-apoptotic protein, tBid. We found that the IC50 of the inhibition of cardiolipin oxidation by ApAP is similar in both intact isolated mitochondria and cardiolipin liposomes, suggesting that ApAP penetrates well into the mitochondria. Together with our previous results, the findings presented herein suggest that ApAP is a pleiotropic inhibitor of peroxidase catalyzed lipid peroxidation. Our study also provides a potentially novel pharmacological approach for inhibiting the cascade of events that can result from redox cycling of cyt c.
PMCID: PMC3389218  PMID: 22634010
Acetaminophen; cytochrome c; lipid peroxidation; redox cycling
13.  Archaea in metazoan diets: implications for food webs and biogeochemical cycling 
The ISME Journal  2012;6(8):1602-1612.
Although the importance of trophic linkages, including ‘top-down forcing', on energy flow and ecosystem productivity is recognized, the influence of metazoan grazing on Archaea and the biogeochemical processes that they mediate is unknown. Here, we test if: (1) Archaea provide a food source sufficient to allow metazoan fauna to complete their life cycle; (2) neutral lipid biomarkers (including crocetane) can be used to identify Archaea consumers; and (3) archaeal aggregates are a dietary source for methane seep metazoans. In the laboratory, we demonstrated that a dorvilleid polychaete, Ophryotrocha labronica, can complete its life cycle on two strains of Euryarchaeota with the same growth rate as when fed bacterial and eukaryotic food. Archaea were therefore confirmed as a digestible and nutritious food source sufficient to sustain metazoan populations. Both strains of Euryarchaeota used as food sources had unique lipids that were not incorporated into O. labronica tissues. At methane seeps, sulfate-reducing bacteria that form aggregations and live syntrophically with anaerobic-methane oxidizing Archaea contain isotopically and structurally unique fatty acids (FAs). These biomarkers were incorporated into tissues of an endolithofaunal dorvilleid polychaete species from Costa Rica (mean bulk δ13C=−92±4‰ polar lipids −116‰) documenting consumption of archaeal-bacterial aggregates. FA composition of additional soft-sediment methane seep species from Oregon and California provided evidence that consumption of archaeal-bacterial aggregates is widespread at methane seeps. This work is the first to show that Archaea are consumed by heterotrophic metazoans, a trophic process we coin as ‘archivory'.
PMCID: PMC3400411  PMID: 22402398
anaerobic methane oxidation; archivory; authigenic carbonate; biomarker; microbial–metazoan interactions; cold seep
14.  Insights into substrate specificity of geranylgeranyl reductases revealed by the structure of digeranylgeranylglycerophospholipid reductase from Thermoplasma acidophilum, an essential enzyme in the biosynthesis of archaeal membrane lipids 
Journal of molecular biology  2010;404(3):403-417.
Archaeal membrane lipids consist of branched, saturated hydrocarbons distinct from those found in bacteria and eukaryotes. Digeranylgeranylglycerophospholipid reductase (DGGR) catalyzes the hydrogenation process that converts unsaturated 2,3-di-O-geranylgeranylglyceryl phosphate to saturated 2,3-di-O-phytanylglyceryl phosphate as a critical step in the biosynthesis of archaeal membrane lipids. The saturation of hydrocarbon chains confers the ability to resist hydrolysis and oxidation and helps archaea withstand extreme conditions. DGGR is a member of the geranylgeranyl reductase (GGR) family that is also widely distributed in bacteria and plants, where the family members are involved in the biosynthesis of photosynthetic pigments. We have determined the crystal structure of DGGR from the thermophilic heterotrophic archaea Thermoplasma acidophilum at 1.6 Å resolution, in complex with FAD and a bacterial lipid. The DGGR structure can be assigned to the well-studied, para-hydroxybenzoate hydroxylase (PHBH) SCOP superfamily of flavoproteins that include many aromatic hydroxylases and other enzymes with diverse functions. In the DGGR complex, FAD adopts the IN conformation (closed) previously observed in other PHBH flavoproteins. DGGR contains a large substrate-binding site that extends across the entire ligand-binding domain. Electron density corresponding to a bacterial lipid was found within this cavity. The cavity consists of a large opening that tapers down to two narrow curved tunnels that closely mimic the shape of the preferred substrate. We identified a sequence motif, PxxYxWxFP, that defines a specificity pocket in the structure and precisely aligns the double bond of the geranyl group with respect to the FAD cofactor, thus providing a structural basis for the substrate specificity of GGRs. DGGR is likely to share a common mechanism with other PHBH enzymes in which FAD switches between two conformations that correspond to the reductive and oxidative half cycles. The structure provides evidence that substrate binding likely involves conformational changes, which are coupled to the two conformational states of the FAD.
PMCID: PMC3008412  PMID: 20869368
15.  Photolabeling of Cardiolipin Binding Subunits within Bovine Heart Cytochrome c Oxidase† 
Biochemistry  2006;45(3):746-754.
Subunits located near the cardiolipin binding sites of bovine heart cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) were identified by photolabeling with arylazido-cardiolipin analogues and detecting labeled subunits by reversed-phase HPLC and HPLC–electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Two arylazido-containing cardiolipin analogues were synthesized: (1) 2-SAND-gly-CL with a nitrophenylazido group attached to the polar headgroup of cardiolipin (CL) via a linker containing a cleavable disulfide; (2) 2′,2″-bis-(AzC12)-CL with two of the four fatty acid tails of cardiolipin replaced by 12-(N-4-azido-2-nitrophenyl) aminododecanoic acid. Both arylazido-CL derivatives were used to map the cardiolipin binding sites within two types of detergent-solubilized CcO: (1) intact 13-subunit CL-containing CcO (three to four molecules of endogenous CL remain bound per CcO monomer); (2) 11-subunit CL-free CcO (subunits VIa and VIb are missing because they dissociate during CL removal). Upon the basis of these photolabeling studies, we conclude that (1) subunits VIIa, VIIc, and possibly VIII are located near the two high-affinity cardiolipin binding sites, which are present in either form of CcO, and (2) subunit VIa is located adjacent to the lower affinity cardiolipin binding site, which is only present in the 13-subunit form of CcO. These data are consistent with the recent CcO crystal structure in which one cardiolipin is located near subunit VIIa and a second is located near subunit VIa (PDB ID code 1V54 referenced in Tomitake, T. et al. (2003) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 100, 15304−15309). However, we propose that a third cardiolipin is bound between subunits VIIa and VIIc near the entrance to the D-channel. Cardiolipin bound at this location could potentially function as a proton antenna to facilitate proton entry into the D-channel. If true, it would explain the CcO requirement of bound cardiolipin for full electron transport activity.
PMCID: PMC2561917  PMID: 16411750
16.  Structural Characterization of the Polar Lipids of Clostridium novyi NT. Further Evidence for a Novel Anaerobic Biosynthetic Pathway to Plasmalogens 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2010;1811(3):186-193.
A study of the polar lipids of Clostridium novyi NT has revealed the presence of phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and cardiolipin as major phospholipids with smaller amounts of phosphatidylglycerol (PG), lysyl-PG and alanyl-PG. Other minor phospholipids included phosphatidic acid, CDP-diacylglycerol, phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylthreonine (PT). PE, PG and amino acyl PG were present in both the diacyl and alk-1’-enyl acyl (plasmalogen) forms and cardiolipin plasmalogens were found to contain one or two alk-1’-enyl chains. In contrast, the precursor lipids phosphatidic acid, CDP-diacylglycerol and PS were present almost exclusively as diacyl phospholipids. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that plasmalogens are formed from diacylated phospholipids at a late stage of phospholipid formation in Clostridium species. This novel pathway contrasts with the route in animals in which a saturated ether bond is formed at an early stage of plasmalogen biosynthesis and the alk-1-enyl bond is formed by an aerobic mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3033967  PMID: 21195206
17.  Virion Architecture Unifies Globally Distributed Pleolipoviruses Infecting Halophilic Archaea 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(9):5067-5079.
Our understanding of the third domain of life, Archaea, has greatly increased since its establishment some 20 years ago. The increasing information on archaea has also brought their viruses into the limelight. Today, about 100 archaeal viruses are known, which is a low number compared to the numbers of characterized bacterial or eukaryotic viruses. Here, we have performed a comparative biological and structural study of seven pleomorphic viruses infecting extremely halophilic archaea. The pleomorphic nature of this novel virion type was established by sedimentation analysis and cryo-electron microscopy. These nonlytic viruses form virions characterized by a lipid vesicle enclosing the genome, without any nucleoproteins. The viral lipids are unselectively acquired from host cell membranes. The virions contain two to three major structural proteins, which either are embedded in the membrane or form spikes distributed randomly on the external membrane surface. Thus, the most important step during virion assembly is most likely the interaction of the membrane proteins with the genome. The interaction can be driven by single-stranded or double-stranded DNA, resulting in the virions having similar architectures but different genome types. Based on our comparative study, these viruses probably form a novel group, which we define as pleolipoviruses.
PMCID: PMC3347350  PMID: 22357279
18.  An Anaerobic Methane-Oxidizing Community of ANME-1b Archaea in Hypersaline Gulf of Mexico Sediments▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2006;72(11):7218-7230.
Sediments overlying a brine pool methane seep in the Gulf of Mexico (Green Canyon 205) were analyzed using molecular and geochemical approaches to identify geochemical controls on microbial community composition and stratification. 16S rRNA gene and rRNA clone libraries, as well as mcrA gene clone libraries, showed that the archaeal community consists predominantly of ANME-1b methane oxidizers; no archaea of other ANME subgroups were found with general and group-specific PCR primers. The ANME-1b community was found in the sulfate-methane interface, where undersaturated methane concentrations of ca. 100 to 250 μM coexist with sulfate concentrations around 10 mM. Clone libraries of dsrAB genes and bacterial 16S rRNA genes show diversified sulfate-reducing communities within and above the sulfate-methane interface. Their phylogenetic profiles and occurrence patterns are not linked to ANME-1b populations, indicating that electron donors other than methane, perhaps petroleum-derived hydrocarbons, drive sulfate reduction. The archaeal component of anaerobic oxidation of methane is comprised of an active population of mainly ANME-1b in this hypersaline sediment.
PMCID: PMC1636178  PMID: 16980428
19.  Relationship between cardiolipin metabolism and oxygen availability in Bacillus subtilis☆ 
FEBS Open Bio  2013;3:151-155.
We report changes of the content of anionic phospholipids in Bacillus subtilis in response to hypoxic conditions and inhibition of terminal respiration. Cardiolipin accumulates rapidly when bacteria are suspended in non-growth medium under reduced aeration or exposed to the inhibitor cyanide; the increase of cardiolipin occurs at the expense of its precursor phosphatidylglycerol and is temperature-dependent. Depending on the extent of hypoxic stress, membranes containing different levels of cardiolipin can be isolated from B. subtilis cells. The NADH oxidase activity in cardiolipin-enriched membranes is cyanide-resistant; furthermore O2 consumption measurements indicated that cardiolipin-enriched cells are resistant to cyanide. Results point out a possible interdependence between the effect of cyanide on cardiolipin metabolism and the effect of cardiolipin on the effectiveness of cyanide inhibition.
▸ Bacillus subtilis lipids were analyzed by TLC and MALDI-TOF/MS. ▸ Hypoxic stress stimulates the conversion of PG in CL. ▸ Membrane CL levels correlate with the extent of hypoxic stress. ▸ The respiratory poison cyanide induces CL membrane enrichment. ▸ CL-rich cells or membranes are resistant to cyanide.
PMCID: PMC3668533  PMID: 23772387
Cardiolipin; Phosphatidylglycerol; Hypoxia; Cyanide; CL, cardiolipin; L-PG, lysyl-phosphatidylglycerol; NAO, 10-N-nonyl-acridine orange; NGM, non-growth medium; PE, phosphatidylethanolamine; PG, phosphatidylglycerol; PGL, phosphoglycolipid.
20.  Tropical Aquatic Archaea Show Environment-Specific Community Composition 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e76321.
The Archaea domain is ubiquitously distributed and extremely diverse, however, environmental factors that shape archaeal community structure are not well known. Aquatic environments, including the water column and sediments harbor many new uncultured archaeal species from which metabolic and ecological roles remain elusive. Some environments are especially neglected in terms of archaeal diversity, as is the case of pristine tropical areas. Here we investigate the archaeal composition in marine and freshwater systems from Ilha Grande, a South Atlantic tropical environment. All sampled habitats showed high archaeal diversity. No OTUs were shared between freshwater, marine and mangrove sediment samples, yet these environments are interconnected and geographically close, indicating environment-specific community structuring. Group II Euryarchaeota was the main clade in marine samples, while the new putative phylum Thaumarchaeota and LDS/RCV Euryarchaeota dominated freshwaters. Group III Euryarchaeota, a rare clade, was also retrieved in reasonable abundance in marine samples. The archaeal community from mangrove sediments was composed mainly by members of mesophilic Crenarchaeota and by a distinct clade forming a sister-group to Crenarchaeota and Thaumarchaeota. Our results show strong environment-specific community structuring in tropical aquatic Archaea, as previously seen for Bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3783403  PMID: 24086729
21.  Metabolism of Phosphatidylglycerol, Phosphatidylethanolamine, and Cardiolipin of Bacillus stearothermophilus 
Journal of Bacteriology  1973;114(3):1125-1137.
The total phospholipid content of Bacillus stearothermophilus was constant during exponential growth, increased during the transition from the exponential to stationary phase of growth, and then slowly increased during the stationary phase. The first increase was a result of an increase in phosphatidylethanolamine; the second was a result of an increase in cardiolipin. Cessation of aeration of an exponentially growing culture or suspension in a nongrowth medium resulted in an immediate reduction in the rate of total phospholipid and phosphatidylethanolamine synthesis and a quantitative conversion of phosphatidylglycerol to cardiolipin. Cardiolipin appeared to be synthesized by the direct conversion of two molecules of phosphatidylglycerol to cardiolipin. After a 20-min pulse of 32P, phosphatidylglycerol showed the most rapid loss of 32P followed by cardiolipin, whereas phosphatidylethanolamine did not lose 32P. The loss of 32P from the total lipid pool, phosphatidylglycerol, and cardiolipin was biphasic, with rapid loss during the first two bacterial doublings followed by a greatly reduced rate of loss. The major loss of 32P from the total phospholipid pool appeared to be by breakdown of cardiolipin. The loss of 32P from the lipid pool was energy dependent (i.e., did not occur under anaerobic conditions or in the absence of an energy source) and was dependent on some factor other than the concentration of cardiolipin in the cells. The apparent conversion of phosphatidylglycerol to cardiolipin was independent of energy metabolism. Chloramphenicol reduced the rate of turnover of both phosphatidylglycerol and cardiolipin. The rate of lipid synthesis (all phospholipid components) was constant for about 10 min after the addition of chloramphenicol but diminished markedly after 20 min. Turnover of 32P incorporated into phospholipid during a 30-min period prior to the addition of chloramphenicol was more rapid after the removal of chloramphenicol than that of 32P incorporated during a 30-min period in the presence of chloramphenicol.
PMCID: PMC285373  PMID: 4712568
22.  Macroscopic Biofilms in Fracture-Dominated Sediment That Anaerobically Oxidize Methane ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(19):6780-6787.
Methane release from seafloor sediments is moderated, in part, by the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) performed by consortia of archaea and bacteria. These consortia occur as isolated cells and aggregates within the sulfate-methane transition (SMT) of diffusion and seep-dominant environments. Here we report on a new SMT setting where the AOM consortium occurs as macroscopic pink to orange biofilms within subseafloor fractures. Biofilm samples recovered from the Indian and northeast Pacific Oceans had a cellular abundance of 107 to 108 cells cm−3. This cell density is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude greater than that in the surrounding sediments. Sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes indicated that the bacterial component is dominated by Deltaproteobacteria, candidate division WS3, and Chloroflexi, representing 46%, 15%, and 10% of clones, respectively. In addition, major archaeal taxa found in the biofilm were related to the ANME-1 clade, Thermoplasmatales, and Desulfurococcales, representing 73%, 11%, and 10% of archaeal clones, respectively. The sequences of all major taxa were similar to sequences previously reported from cold seep environments. PhyloChip microarray analysis detected all bacterial phyla identified by the clone library plus an additional 44 phyla. However, sequencing detected more archaea than the PhyloChip within the phyla of Methanosarcinales and Desulfurococcales. The stable carbon isotope composition of the biofilm from the SMT (−35 to −43‰) suggests that the production of the biofilm is associated with AOM. These biofilms are a novel, but apparently widespread, aggregation of cells represented by the ANME-1 clade that occur in methane-rich marine sediments.
PMCID: PMC3187087  PMID: 21821755
23.  Diversity and Distribution of Methanotrophic Archaea at Cold Seeps†  
In this study we investigated by using 16S rRNA-based methods the distribution and biomass of archaea in samples from (i) sediments above outcropping methane hydrate at Hydrate Ridge (Cascadia margin off Oregon) and (ii) massive microbial mats enclosing carbonate reefs (Crimea area, Black Sea). The archaeal diversity was low in both locations; there were only four (Hydrate Ridge) and five (Black Sea) different phylogenetic clusters of sequences, most of which belonged to the methanotrophic archaea (ANME). ANME group 2 (ANME-2) sequences were the most abundant and diverse sequences at Hydrate Ridge, whereas ANME-1 sequences dominated the Black Sea mats. Other seep-specific sequences belonged to the newly defined group ANME-3 (related to Methanococcoides spp.) and to the Crenarchaeota of marine benthic group B. Quantitative analysis of the samples by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) showed that ANME-1 and ANME-2 co-occurred at the cold seep sites investigated. At Hydrate Ridge the surface sediments were dominated by aggregates consisting of ANME-2 and members of the Desulfosarcina-Desulfococcus branch (DSS) (ANME-2/DSS aggregates), which accounted for >90% of the total cell biomass. The numbers of ANME-1 cells increased strongly with depth; these cells accounted 1% of all single cells at the surface and more than 30% of all single cells (5% of the total cells) in 7- to 10-cm sediment horizons that were directly above layers of gas hydrate. In the Black Sea microbial mats ANME-1 accounted for about 50% of all cells. ANME-2/DSS aggregates occurred in microenvironments within the mat but accounted for only 1% of the total cells. FISH probes for the ANME-2a and ANME-2c subclusters were designed based on a comparative 16S rRNA analysis. In Hydrate Ridge sediments ANME-2a/DSS and ANME-2c/DSS aggregates differed significantly in morphology and abundance. The relative abundance values for these subgroups were remarkably different at Beggiatoa sites (80% ANME-2a, 20% ANME-2c) and Calyptogena sites (20% ANME-2a, 80% ANME-2c), indicating that there was preferential selection of the groups in the two habitats. These variations in the distribution, diversity, and morphology of methanotrophic consortia are discussed with respect to the presence of microbial ecotypes, niche formation, and biogeography.
PMCID: PMC544223  PMID: 15640223
24.  Phylogenomic Investigation of Phospholipid Synthesis in Archaea 
Archaea  2012;2012:630910.
Archaea have idiosyncratic cell membranes usually based on phospholipids containing glycerol-1-phosphate linked by ether bonds to isoprenoid lateral chains. Since these phospholipids strongly differ from those of bacteria and eukaryotes, the origin of the archaeal membranes (and by extension, of all cellular membranes) was enigmatic and called for accurate evolutionary studies. In this paper we review some recent phylogenomic studies that have revealed a modified mevalonate pathway for the synthesis of isoprenoid precursors in archaea and suggested that this domain uses an atypical pathway of synthesis of fatty acids devoid of any acyl carrier protein, which is essential for this activity in bacteria and eukaryotes. In addition, we show new or updated phylogenetic analyses of enzymes likely responsible for the isoprenoid chain synthesis from their precursors and the phospholipid synthesis from glycerol phosphate, isoprenoids, and polar head groups. These results support that most of these enzymes can be traced back to the last archaeal common ancestor and, in many cases, even to the last common ancestor of all living organisms.
PMCID: PMC3533463  PMID: 23304072
25.  Characterization of the lipids of mesosomal vesicles and plasma membranes from Staphylococcus aureus. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1975;121(1):137-143.
Mesosomal vesicles and plasma membranes were isolated from Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538P by protoplasting and differential centrifugation. The lipids of each of the two membrane fractions were extracted with pyridine-acetic acid-N-butanol, and the nonlipid contaminants were removed by Sephadex treatment. The lipids were then separated by passage through diethylaminoethyl-cellulose columns and characterized by thin-layer chromatographic, chemical, and spectral analyses. The lipids were separated into four discrete diethylaminoethyl fractions: (i) vitamin K2, carotenoids, C55 isoprenoid alcohol, and monoglucosyl diglyceride; (ii) cardiolipin, carotenoids, phosphatidyl glycerol, diglucosyl diglyceride, and an unidentified ninhydrin-positive component; (iii) cardiolipid and phosphatidyl glyderol; (iv) cardiolipin, phosphatidyl glycerol, and phosphatidyl glucose. Qualitatively, no difference in lipid composition between mesosomal vesicles and plasma membranes was found. However, based on equal dry weights of membrane materials, a relative quantitative difference in the amount of specific lipids in mesosomal vesicles and plasma membranes was observed. There are 4 times more monoglucosyl diglyceride, 2.6 times more diglucosyl diglyceride, 3.8 times more phosphatidyl glucose, 2 times more carotenoids, and 2 times more vitamin K2 found in mesosomal vesicles than in plasma membranes. The concentration of cardiolipin and phosphatidyl glycerol is 3.6 and 6 times greater, respectively, in mesosomal vesicles.
PMCID: PMC285623  PMID: 1116984

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